The Chinese New Year begins February 18, 2007 with the year of the Pig. It is said that people born under the sign of the Pig (that includes people born in 1923, 1935, 1947,1959,1971,1983,1995 and now 2007) are regarded for their chivalry, pureness of heart and their ability to make true friends, often for life.
Recent research has shown the importance of friendships in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Talking to friends can reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. In retirement this becomes even more important as we often don’t have the day to day contact with friends in the workplace.
In retirement people often move to new locations, leaving friends behind. However, in this day of space-age technology, we never need leave friends behind and it is as easy as picking up the phone or logging on email to maintain contact. Retirement also gives us the opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships.
In his new book, Vital Friends:The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, Tom Rath identifies vital friends as friends that contribute to the quality of your life by playing one or more specific roles in it. These can be friends you have had forever or new friends that you have just made. Vital friends are people who don’t drain your energy and who we feel better by being around.
So, as we begin the year of the pig, we can all take a lesson from the important character trait of valuing friendship. Whether is it spending time with friends we have or cultivating new friendships, friends make life worthwhile.
Why not invite someone out for a Chinese dinner to enjoy the new year!